Come the revolution….

I can’t remember where I read it — because I wasn’t near my computer and couldn’t bookmark it — but I definitely read somewhere that Chavez was targeting teachers, etc., and that they were part of the political block trying to oust him (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) in the most recent election. That got me thinking about one of history’s great ironies.

Historically, revolutions, although powered by the masses, germinate with the intelligentsia. Thus, while there may be discontent among the masses, it’s the intellectuals, both the famous and the plodding, who historically have handed to these seething masses the idea to revolt. It’s questionable whether, without the ideas class, there could be functional revolutions, or if you’d just have random uprisings, such as the Peasants’ Revolt in 14th Century England, or the Luddite revolts in North England in the 19th Century. These uprisings shook things up a bit, but since they were aimed solely to correct specific grievances, they didn’t — and weren’t intended to — change the system.

However, in so many (maybe all — I don’t know) ideology driven revolutions, the revolutions that are meant to change the world, the first ones to go are these same intellectuals who started it all. France beheaded them, Russia purged them, Pol Pot slaughtered them wholesale, and it now seems as if Chavez is working to destroy them too. These anti-intellectual rampages make sense, of course. These intellectuals are the idea people and, if they see that their idea isn’t working in fact as well as it did in theory, they may come up with new ideas aimed at ousting the revolution.

Despite this historical truism and the cold logic driving it — use the intellectuals to shape the revolution, then destroy them before they wise up — the modern thinking class is still trying hard to start new and better revolutions. They’re still looking for victims to build up so that these victims can provide the muscles to tear down the society in which we live. These “thinkers,” though, seem incapable of recognizing the inevitable end result of their efforts, which is that any future revolutions will eat them too. Someone in San Francisco (of all places) gets it, however. To see what I mean, read the following from Jay Nordlinger.

Last, I can’t help sharing with you a photo, sent to me by a reader. I don’t say it’s fair. I do say it’s funny (and that it has a point). The photo shows a man — an extraordinarily brave one, by the evidence — dressed in a keffiyeh. He’s in San Francisco. And he’s going around with a sign that says, “Thank you, S.F. liberals! You die last.”

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  • JJ

    Sharpton’s been garbage from day 1. And why not – he’s made a good living from it – his kids all go to private school in New Jersey. He’s been a splendidly successful hustler.

    And I’ve always been curious to know of what church this guy is a minister. In fact, henceforth refer to me as Rev. JJ. I like the way it sounds, too.

    Commenting on the fomenters of revolution, it’s the same as the fomenters of philosophy: it comes down to a matter of time. It’s a leisure time activity. Revolutions begin with intellectuals, usually students, because they have the time. They’re cared-for. Generally fed, clothed, and housed through no – or little – effort of their own, and this allows them the time to get into trouble. The best revolutions have always been started by students.

    If you are the actual peasant on whose behalf they are allegedly rising – you don’t have the time for that nonsense. You’re in the fields working sun-up to sundown trying to get something to put in your stomach. You don’t spend the evening reading revolutionary screeds: you’re asleep by dark, because your day involved non-stop working and you’re exhausted.

    You aren’t likely to be a philosopher, either. When you’re time is fully occupied trying to solve the basic needs: food, shelter, warmth, etc. – you don’t usually bend much effort to speculation on deep matters.

    Revolution, like philosophy, art, even law and medicine; is a function of basic needs being met, leaving time available for those so inclined to get thoughtful.

  • expat

    Did you ever hear of the German RAF’s attempt to start the revolution by infiltrating an Opel plant? They got jobs in th factory and started mouthing off with their proletariat oppression line. They were totally ignored by the workers, and many haven’t recovered from their disappointment to this day.

  • ymarsakar

    The ironic thing is, this guy in the Keff, might actually be serious. Slight, but possibe. The terroists certainly think that they are invulnerable when protesting. If you were protesting the Russians or Chinese, you had better watch out for a bomb being dropped on you.

  • ymarsakar

    Book, some people would prefer to talk political nonsense in the hillary thread in the fundamental disintegration of their “progressive cause”. In fact, their cause is disintegrating at a progressive rate, and that is the only thing progressive about what BigAl and Dagon preach.

  • jg

    Fiction can quite often say things that other genres can’t. One paperback last year took a story set at the UN, and followed the progressive disillusionment and coincidental self awakening of a career US diplomat.

    The young man entered the UN thinking he could save the world (which is the manner of thinking common to revolutionaries.) Years later he found himself hoping he could accomplish a task much harder and more worthwhile: save himself.

    His fictional UN career had taught him how little he had to give the world unless he came to grips with his own life and his own worth.
    ‘Seeing the beam in one’s own eye..’

    His wisdom is missing, I suspect, in most of today’s political savants.